Davis Mountain State Park can be found high up in the mountains of Jeff Davis County, Texas. The park is roughly halfway between Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park. High mountains and hills fill the surrounding area, and the park sits at a level of 5,000- 6,000 feet above sea level. The park's 2,709 acres are breathtaking, especially during sunsets and in the evening, and the area is historically rich. The nearest city is El Paso, which is northwest of the park.
The parcel of land that the park sits on was originally owned by a local family and given to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Improvements were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and the park has been excepting visitors since the late 1930s. In the mid-1960s, campsites and facilities were added to the park.
When you visit the park, you can enjoy outdoor activities like biking, hiking, horseback riding, geocaching, and ranger programs. Whatever your preference is, you are sure to find something to keep you busy. The park has 60 RV and tent sites, 26 with full hookups and 34 with electrical and water hookups to choose from. They also have 33 tent sites, six primitive sites, and six equestrian camping sites available.
You can find Davis Mountain State Park approximately 200 miles southeast from El Paso. The park is easy to reach and is just off of US-118. RVers traveling from El Paso along the US-118 won't experience any difficulty navigating their rigs from obstacles or height restrictions. Once you arrive at the park, the road remains paved and well marked. Some of the turns may be a bit tight, so make sure to drive an appropriate speed and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
If you are planning on enjoying the accommodation that the park offers, then you can go ahead and park your rig at your site. Visitors can also find suitable parking near the lodge or along the road to the Fort Access Trail. Once parked, visitors can enjoy the rest of the park and reach the activities on foot or by bike, whatever their preference is.
Davis Mountain State Park has 60 RV and tent campsites available for visitors to choose from. Thirty-four of these are full-hookup sites, with sewer, water, and 50-amp electrical hookups. The remaining 26 sites offer water and 30-amp electrical hookups.
Each campsite can hold a total of eight people and three vehicles at a time. The sites sit in full or partial shade, depending on which campsites you choose, and each is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and grill. Restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets are communally situated and are just a short walk away from each site. The sites are also pet-friendly, so you can bring your pets along on your camping trip. Just remember to keep them on a leash at all times and to clean up after them.
Site length varies between each site, but campsites can accommodate rigs of an average length of 40 feet, with the maximum length being 60 feet. Sites are paved and are easy to get in and out of.
Tent campers can make use of the 33 sites designated specifically for tent camping. A water hookup is available nearby, and each site has a picnic table, grill, and fire ring. Communal restrooms can be found a short distance away with hot showers and flushing toilets. The sites are also pet-friendly, and you are welcome to bring your furry friends along. These sites need to be reserved in advance to your arrival.
Tent campers looking for a more rugged mode of camping can try out one of the park's six primitive campsites. These are pet-friendly, so you can bring your pets along. These sites are hike-in, and you will need to carry everything that you will need, including water. The sites are very primitive and don't have any restroom facilities. Each site can sleep four people at a time.
Situated next to the primitive camping area is the equestrian camping area. These are specifically meant for visitors who are camping with their horses. Similarly to the primitive camping sites, these sites are hike-in, and you will need to bring along everything you need, including water. You can sleep a maximum of eight people per site. There are no restrooms available, so come prepared.
Texas is known for its birding, and this park is no exception. In fact, the park's bird blind is referred to as the "best little bird blind in Texas." Thanks to the park's high elevation, you will see various species of birds that like higher elevations, especially during the breeding months. So make sure to pack those binoculars and cameras along in your campervan.
In total, over 100 different species are known to breed in the Davis Mountains. These birds include magnificent hummingbirds, violet-green swallows, Mexican whip-poor-will, flammulated owl, and gray warblers. You can print out a checklist to keep track of the numerous birds that you see.
Because of the park's remote location, there is no light pollution and the sky at night is absolutely breathtaking. Whether you're an avid stargazer or not, you will really enjoy sitting underneath the night sky and looking at the stars and constellations during your visit. If you have binoculars or a telescope, make sure to bring it along in your rig to fully capture the beauty of the night sky.
During the day time, you can enjoy studying the surrounding nature. Jeff Davis County is made up of a variety of habitats, partly thanks to its elevation. Grasslands, desert shrubs, and pinyon-juniper-oak woodlands are some of the different types of habitats you can see when you visit the area.
This is the perfect activity to enjoy while exploring the outdoors with the whole family. Geocaching is a concept similar to treasure hunting. The participants use a GPS-capable device to track and locate "caches" with trinkets and treasures. Bring along some treasures and trinkets of your own to trade with those you find in the caches. It is important to leave the caches as you found them so that others can find them after you. This fun game will have you exploring all over the park, so make sure to bring along water and some snacks to keep you going.
Hikers and mountain bikers will enjoy the various trails available within the park for visitors to explore. Approximately 15 miles of trails are divided between nine different routes. They vary in length from 0.3 miles to 5.6 miles and range in difficulty from easy to challenging. If you are looking for a trail with stunning views from atop mountain ridges, then definitely try the 4.5-mile Skyline Drive Trail. If you want to explore more of the park's history, you can enjoy the 1.75-mile Civilian Conservation Corps Trail. This trail leads on to a path that takes you to the Fort Davis National Historic Site.
You and your horse can enjoy the park together when you explore the horseback riding trails available. Make sure to have proof that your horse has had a negative Coggins test within the past year so that your horse can have access to the park.
There are 11 miles of trails for horseback riders to enjoy. These trails take you over rugged terrain, down in valleys, across to scenic overlooks, and up to breathtaking views atop Davis Mountain. You can even stay a couple of days at one of the primitive equestrian sites to fully explore the park.
Fort Davis was one of the key posts in western Texas's defense system. Troops were stationed here to protect freighters, travelers, emigrants, and mail coaches who were traveling along the San Antonio-El Paso road trying to get to the goldfields of California between in the late 1800s. It played a significant role in the history of the surrounding area and the Southwest.
Today it is a National Historic Site and attracts many visitors who are interested in learning about its rich history. You can drive your RV to the site, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can hike or bike along the Fort Access Trail.